Prince Albert Tales
My stories to date have dealt with historical events found in The Prince Albert Historical Archives or referred to in publications written about Prince Albert. For the next few stories, I will turn to information I have gleaned from personal interviews with individuals I feel have contributed to the Story of Prince Albert and area.
Wes Stubbs: He’ll commit you one way or another!
Next to Prince Albert’s City Hall sits the Prince Albert Arts Centre. It is an historic building, built in the early 1890's. It was designed to be a multi use facility, and it certainly has been that. It has served as the city’s earliest drama centre, an opera house, public meeting house, police headquarters, city jail, and City Hall. Today it showcases the work of many of the city’s artists.
A few weeks ago, I encountered an ex-student and he reminded me of a short essay he composed, years ago, about The Paranormal St. Louis Light. He said that, despite a dismissive comment I made about the ‘Light’, he received an A. The student felt I should re-visit the story in one of my articles. So, I will.
History has seen ironic goodness rise out of tragedy. One example can be found in a far off event which many of us have heard about, but see little relation to our fair Prince Albert. The bloody massacre involving General George Custer of the American Cavalry and the great Chief Sitting Bull is the case in point. The 1876 battle of The Little Big Horn was to prove to have a major positive impact on the Education System in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan - an impact that continues today. A diminutive, but determined, woman of 5' 3", trying painfully to paddle a small canoe across the North Saskatchewan River, lies at the centre of this dramatic story. The canoeist was Lucy Margaret Baker .
In the early 1900's Prince Albert, a small religious settlement, and a struggling fur trade outpost, was on the brink of dramatic change. The railroad was coming, timber resources were readily available, and most recently, coal - ‘white coal’ - the fuel of unlimited richness - had been discovered. This white coal would not flow from mining, but from the fast-moving river sweeping through the city.
Charles H. Mitchell, an engineer from Toronto, brought an electrifying dream to the City. He claimed that a few miles east of the City a set of river rapids, named after John Cole, an 18th century fur trader, could provide more than 10,000-h.p. of electricity, white gold that would make the city rich with industries and excess power.